ANHA’s agency held a dialogue with a member of the Presidential Committee in the Democratic Union Party,(PYD) Fouza Yousef, to talk about women-related issues in NE Syria, and the crimes of the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries in the occupied areas.
* 16 years on, as a member of the Kongra Star Coordination (KSC), what is the importance of organizing women in the region?
First of all, we congratulate all Kurdish women, Syrians, fighting women for freedom on the anniversary of the founding of the KSC, which played a very important role in women’s struggle for freedom, introducing the Kurdish women to the world. They had a key role in Rojava Revolution, Kurdistan and Syria in general, after playing meaningful role in creating a free mentality, developing the freedom struggle and forming the Autonomous Administration. The current 50 % of women’s participation in the administration and equal share in the co-presidency system, the Women Protection Units against all forms of occupation, all these gains were thanks to the support and relentless struggle of the Kongra Star, which led the advancement of women’s struggle.
How has this affected the women worldwide?
No doubt, the Kurdish women were able through the Kongra Star and the Women’s Protection Units, to highlight the free women all over the world, as they turned into a symbol of the Rojava Revolution, and this is a very important gain that impacted the whole world, morally and spiritually, It also proved the free woman potentials.
Victories of women in Rojava and Kurdistan in particular, were an inspiration to escalate their struggle, as it revived the global women’s freedom movement. Women contribution in Rojava, Kurdistan, NE Syria, is a very advanced case in terms of promoting democracy. This caught everyone’s attention, consequently reached advanced stages in the world, so her struggle for freedom in Rojava sends the good news of freedom to the world.
* The region is witnessing a relentless struggle, in contrast, murders and genocide against women continue. How do you view this issue?
Certainly, there were remarkable developments in the past years, regarding the rights and freedom of women, but we still face considerable problems, as women are still killed, and commits suicide and violence against them increase. As a women’s organization, we were unable to communicate with all women to solve their issues. Therefore, in conjunction with women historical gains, KSC and all women’s institutions and organizations are required to intervene more effectively in these issues.
‘2021 is the year of a new campaign for freedom’
Occupation crimes and violence against women is not an urgent and new issue, but dates back long, so it cannot be answered in no time, but we must always escalate the struggle with greater determination and strengthen our organization everywhere. We will work to make 2021 the year of a new campaign for freedom within the women’s revolution, whether for the Kongra Star or for all women’s organizations in NE Syria. The parties must also fulfill their responsibilities in this area, full of social problems.
Accordingly, we will not be able to establsih democratic politics if women are stripped of their will. This means that great responsibilities fall on the shoulders of political forces in changing the society mentality. We always say that women’s freedom is the base for liberation.
On the other hand, the current war, displacement and the deteriorating economic situation deepens family problems and expose them to various forms of violence. The Coronavirus pandemic outbreak contributed greatly in many problems, but we cannot we make this a reason or an excuse for not taking on our responsibilities.
Therefore, the administration, organizations, parties and women’s institutions must build and reinforce a freedom mentality for all women and men, because the main problem in society is the mentality.
This situation prompts us to deal with the issue with more self-criticism, and to know to what extent we have contributed to solving these problems.
All social and political forces that view themselves responsible, answer this question. To what degree, have we contributed to ending these problems. Many deficiencies and tasks that have not been accomplished, 2021 should be a stage for self-criticism and reconsideration.
* In the occupied territories, women are particularly exposed to various forms of violence, and despite many circulating pictures and scenes showing the brutality of the occupation against women, no stances have emerged worldwide, what do you say about this topic?
From the start, a special policy has been pursued in these areas, it cannot be only linked to the Turkish state. Rather, there is international silence regarding the massacres in Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, and despite all the done efforts, they were in vain. A women’s organization, or human rights organizations or the United Nations on the occupied territories, in which women are exposed to various crimes, as the same mentality that ISIS followed in Şengal is now exercised on Afrin women.
All human concerned organizations must move immediately to investigate and document these violations, because the Turkish state has been currently displacing and committing genocides against the Kurds and women in particular. They are crimes of the highest degrees of fascism and it must be prosecuted for that, as all the parties and forces that keep silent, without a doubt, accomplices in those crimes.
Whatever the Turkish state and its mercenaries are practicing against our people is considered a condemned crime. These forces that commit terrorist acts in our regions, must be classified as terrorist organizations and held accountable, as the killers of Hevrin Khalaf live freely in Afrin, a matter that motivate the mercenary groups to commit more crimes.
We call for immediate action to form a special Fact-Finding Commission in our occupied areas by the United Nations to investigate the demographic change and violence against women there.
* Do you communicate with international bodies in this regard?
In all our meetings, we prioritized this issue, but so far, they have turned a blind eye to the crimes of Turkey.
* What is the response of the forces that you meet and raise this issue with?
“We are following the issue, and we reject these practices,” she says, but no concrete practical step has been taken to end these practices.
* We hear, often, news of Afrin women being kidnapped, as the number of kidnapped women exceeded a thousand, and they were sold in many countries. And recently in Libya, what is your assessment of this matter?
It is not the first time that the Turkish state commits such crimes, this state mutilates the martyrs, and it arrests and imprisons politicians, and what they did against the bodies of Barin and Akin are plain sight. This news, and we seek to ensure its authenticity and its merits, and the women’s organizations and the Women’s Committee at the United Nations should form a committee to investigate the truth about these practices that women are exposed to, and to follow up on the issue of Kurdish women in Libya and in the regions under Turkey. It is a major crime against the freedom and will of women, against The Kurdish people in general, and we call on women’s organizations not to stand idly by, and to protect women from these crimes.